[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

a891: Conyers, Meek & Pres. Aristide at National Palace (fwd)

From: MKarshan@aol.com



I am Congressman John Conyers and my colleague is Congresswoman Carrie Meek from Florida. We have visited here many, many times, and we have known President Aristide for years and years. And we come here representing the Congressional Black Caucus plus other members of Congress who send their regards. For example, there are 36 other members of the Congressional Black Caucus who have recently written to the President indicating our support for him on very crucial matters of international loans and relationships with the governments and independent loan organizations in the world.

But we also have growing numbers of friends in the Congress, among the Hispanic Caucus, the progressive Caucus, we have a number of Haitian support organizations going on and we’re here to let the President know that the friends of Haiti are growing in the US at a very important rate. So, I am happy to be here with you.

I’d like to say to the Haitian people that, as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, we came to lend our support to the Haitian people, as well as to this Government. I’ve been here before, I’m glad to be here again. We know that Haiti, like many other nations, has problems and it needs friends. And we ascertain ourselves as a friend of Haiti. And the Congressional Black Caucus is looking forward to Haiti to get all the help that it can get, particularly from the international community as well as our government. And we’re pleased to be here again with President Aristide and to give him support, as he knows that we’re still his friends and we plan to keep him as a friend. And we hope that Haiti will continue to prosper.

I’m glad you asked that question because, first of all, we have a good relationship with Secretary of State Colin Powell, the first African-American ever to hold this position. As you remember, Colin Powell was one of the three persons that came to Haiti to explain to General Cedras and that there has been a change of policy toward the government of that time or the junta at that time. And that he has been instrumental in the history and development of Haiti from that point on, in addition to which he is a forbearer from the Caribbean. As you know, he is a son of Jamaican parents.

Now, Congresswoman Carrie Meek is the Chairperson of the Haiti Committee in the Congressional Black Caucus. She and I are going to report back to the Caucus and to the Committee. And I think it will be at that point that we will determine what we will do in relationship to our meeting with the Secretary of State in connection with Haiti. That is how I anticipate that this will take place.

Well, again I say that I am taking the lead, as Mr. Conyers used the terms that I’m going back and reporting to our Caucus, as well as I’m going back reporting to my constituency, over 100.0000 of them in South Florida, as to what transpired today. Next to Mr. Conyers and to our Ambassador Curran. I’m able now to go back with a whole different point of view in terms of where we are with the situation. It is so good to be here and to hear from the President, to hear from the Ambassador, to hear from all the friends of Haiti and probably, I’ll hear from some of the enemies of Haiti. So, that means that I will have a broad outlook, a broad scope of what is going on. And of course, I’ll wait until we have met with the Caucus. That is not to say that your friends are there and a friend is a friend. But it is our job to be as objective as possible in our report as we go back to the Black Caucus.

At the end, I would like to thank Congressman Conyers and Congresswoman Carrie Meek on behalf of the Haitian people and the Haitian government. Because you expressed your full support through the letter that the Black Caucus signed, once again, I want to extend my thanks to you. In doing so, you try to help the Haitian people. We also have responsibilities of helping ourselves. In this spirit, we will continue to do our best to talk with our brothers from the opposition, to talk to our brothers and sisters from the private sector, from the civil society, in such a way hopefully, to have a government that also includes members from the opposition, from the private sector as well as from the civil society. You did not ask for that, but this is our vision. A vision that includes all the sons and the brothers of the nation. We need to have political agreement: taking this option can lead us to the goal we want to reach. Moving this way, can create a climate of peace, which is indispensable for fighting in a peaceful way, using legal means to fight against violence and corruption and move ahead towards a state of law. Drugs exists, we need this social environment to continue fighting against drugs. Poverty is also a source of violence, as Secretary of State Powell, mentioned it a couple of days ago. United with our brothers in Haiti and our true friends abroad, we will continue to do our best, in such a way to not let you help Haiti without seeing Haitians helping Haiti.

Thank You.


I think there is very great sense of urgency here. He has outlined a plan that will work, but it needs to be instituted as soon as possible. And I feel he has outlined it and that he is really right on top of all this, but time is so essential here. And Mr. Conyers and I are nervous. And it’s because we know the state of the conditions here in Haiti as you described. So, we want it to happen as soon as possible, like yesterday, Mr. President.


We have met pretty much with the civil society and we intend to meet with the opposition, each one an element. They are very important. We didn’t come over here just to meet with President Aristide; he is part of this big continuum. And in order to be sure that we get a balanced outlook, so, we do need to meet all of them.

Port-au-Prince (Palais national)